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Cauliflower Carbonara

Cauliflower Carbonara with Bacon and Spinach

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Spaghetti alla carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish with a rich sauce of cream, egg, Parmesan, and bacon. Chef Elana’s seasonal twist includes hearty cauliflower and tender spinach for some added color, plus black pepper and chive to balance the velvety sauce and crispy bacon.
  • Stovetop Only
  • Test Kitchen Pick
Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • cauliflower
    • 1 pound
    • cauliflower
  • chives
    • 1/8 ounce
    • chives
  • baby spinach
    • 2 ounces
    • baby spinach
  • thick-cut bacon
    • 3 ounces
    • thick-cut bacon
  • milk
    • 4 ounces
    • milk
  • grated Parmesan
    • 4 tablespoons
    • grated Parmesan
  • spaghetti
    • 8 ounces
    • spaghetti

What You’ll Need

  • 12" large pot
  • 12" large high-sided pan

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare Ingredients

    Prepare Ingredients

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Cut cauliflower into ½-inch florets, discarding tough stem. Thinly slice chives. Roughly chop spinach. Cut bacon crosswise into ¼-inch strips.

  2. Cook Bacon

    Cook Bacon

    In a large high-sided pan, arrange bacon in a single layer, then turn heat to medium. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 12-13 minutes.

  3. Make Cheese Sauce

    Make Cheese Sauce

    While bacon renders, separate 1 egg and place yolk in a small bowl. Add milk and half of Parmesan to bowl with yolk and whisk until fully combined. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper, then set aside. Discard egg white or save for a breakfast scramble.

  4. Cook Cauliflower

    Cook Cauliflower

    Season boiling water generously with salt. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Once tender, using a slotted spoon, transfer directly to pan with bacon, keeping water boiling. Add spinach to pan with bacon over medium-high heat and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower begins to crisp and spinach wilts, 3 minutes more.

  5. Cook Pasta

    Cook Pasta

    When water from cauliflower has returned to a boil, stir in spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain. Stir cooked spaghetti into pan with bacon and vegetables over medium-high heat. Add reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until pan sauce clings to noodles.

  6. Sauce and Plate Carbonara

    Sauce and Plate Carbonara

    Remove pan from heat and immediately pour cheese sauce over spaghetti, stirring quickly until sauce is thick, 2-3 minutes. Stir in chives, then taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Divide carbonara between 2 plates, garnish with remaining Parmesan, and dig in!

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